Year of Publication: 2011
Number of Pages: 533 pages
Genre: Horror, thriller
This is the fourth novel from Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who is probably best known for his debut novel Let the Right One In (2004) which has already become something of a modern classic of vampire literature. This book differs from his previous three in that it is not really a supernatural horror novel. The only vaguely supernatural element in the book is Theres, a girl who is found abandoned in the woods as a baby, and has a unique talent for singing pitch-perfect notes. Found by a once successful singer-songwriter, who sees in Theres the opportunity for raising the perfect musical machine. She eventually finds a soulmate however, in unhappy teenage poet Teresa. What follows is heartbreaking, shocking and deeply disturbing.
At times coming across like an even darker take on the 1994 movie Heavenly Creatures this is also a savagely satirical take on the music industry, reality television, internet forums and the cult of fame. Lindqvist is a powerful writer and has a gift for creating characters that the reader cannot help but sympathise with no matter how unpleasant their actions might be. He tends to be at his best when he is concetrating on a small number of central characters, and here the book focusses primarily on the two girls. The storyline is gripping and full of suspense. This is probably Lindqvist's best book to date, and is one of the best horror novels that I have come across in a very long time. Full of memorable characters, and some shockingly violent set-pieces, this is one that will be devoured in great, hungry chunks.
Definitely check this one out, although The X-Factor and Abba will never be the same to you again.